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Changes made to the main Office applications from Office 2016 up to May 2019
Part six of a seven-part series of blogs

To prepare the way for the start of a monthly Office update on this website, this long blog lists the changes made to Access, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint and Word between the release of Office 2016 and May 2019.

  1. Office 365/Office 2019 updates up to May 2019
  2. General new features between Office 2016 and May 2019
  3. New features in Access between 2016 and May 2019
  4. New features in Excel between 2016 and May 2019
  5. New features in Outlook between 2016 and May 2019
  6. New features in PowerPoint between 2016 and May 2019 (this blog)
  7. New features in Word between 2016 and May 2019

Posted by Andy Brown on 10 May 2019

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New features in PowerPoint between 2016 and May 2019

PowerPoint has seen a host of changes over the last 3 years - this blog summarises the main ones.

The new ruler

If you choose to display the Draw tab of the ribbon (you'll need to customise the PowerPoint ribbon to do this), you can show the ruler:

The ruler

The ruler icon on the Draw tab of the ribbon.

The ruler is great for drawing straight lines - and there's no danger of missing it:

Spot the ruler

Can you spot the ruler in this screen shot?

There are all sorts of keyboard short-cuts, mouse tricks and finger-swipes that you can use to control the ruler, as explained here.

Morphing transitions

This is a clever idea, which must have been a nightmare to program!

Morph transition tool

The Morph transition tool.

So the idea is that you create a slide, then duplicate it.  On the second slide you move the components of the first slide around:

Morphing slides

If I apply a morph transition effect, when I run this presentation as a slide show the text box and picture will transition from their position in slide 1 to their position in slide 2.


It looks more impressive in action!


There's a new Recording tab that you can show on the ribbon to show all of the recording tools in one place:

Recording tab

Customise your ribbon and tick the Recording tab to show an appropriate range of recording tools, as below.

Here's what the tab looks like:

Recording tab contents

Here I'm recording an entire slide show.

Creating zooms

A zoom is like a dashboard for a screen show (read on ...).  Here's how to create a zoom:

Inserting a zoom

How to insert a summary zoom (see below for what this means).

When you choose to create a summary zoom, you can choose which pages to include:

Summary zoom pages

You can tick the pages that you want to include - here I've omitted one deliberately.

This then creates a summary section slide:

Summary slide

PowerPoint creates a new type of slide.


When you run the presentation, you can click on any slide to zoom to it (the effect is quite nice).  When PowerPoint has finished showing that slide, you will be returned to the summary slide.

Text highlighter and colouring website links

Like Word, PowerPoint now has a highlighter pen:

Highlighter pen

Did this really not exist in PowerPoint before?


In a similar would-you-believe-it vein, you can now colour the font of hyperlinks:

Hyperlink colours

Again, was this really not possible before?


Removing backgrounds is easier

It's now easier to remove backgrounds from pictures (at least, most types):

Obama with background Obama without background
Before ... ... and after

To do this, use this picture formatting tool: 

The Remove Background tool.

The Remove Background tool.

You can choose automatic background removal (as I did above), or mark the areas you want to keep:

Marking areas to keep

Use this tool to mark the areas that you want to keep.


If you choose the area that you want to keep, you can draw this on the picture:

Marked area on Obama

Choosing which bits of President Obama you want to keep.


Exporting to 4K video size

When you choose to create a video ...

Creating a video

The menu option to export a presentation to a video.


... you can now choose ultra high-definition resolution:

4K file size

The new option to choose 4K file size.


Changes not specific to PowerPoint

In addition to the changes listed above, don't forget the following new features which I listed in the general Office page at the start of this blog series:

Change Notes
Scalable Vector Graphics You can insert Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) icons and other SVG files, and then resize and reformat them without losing resolution.
Microsoft Translator You can select any text (or an entire document) and translate it into a huge array of languages.
Animated graphics Insert a 3-dimensional model, and click and drag on it to make your picture come to life!
Inking You can draw on screen (with your finger or a mouse), format your inkings and change them to shapes or text.
Accessibility There is a huge array of new accessibility options to make it easier to use Office applications with a disability.
Mentions When reviewing a document you can automatically notify other people of comments by mentioning them.

You can also create funnel and map charts in PowerPoint as for Excel - see the Excel part of this blog for more details.

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